Waslick family of Hatfield worries about loved ones in and around Boston
Sherri Waslick and her daughter, Emma Waslick, 14, were supposed to drive from Hatfield to Boston Friday to visit Waslick’s other daughters, Lauren Waslick, 22, and Jennifer Pinard, 30, both of whom live in the Boston area and are graduates of Northampton High School. It was to have been Waslick’s first chance to see her older daughters in person since Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
But, with the city and surrounding area in lockdown Friday, she had to postpone plans and settle for phone calls.
“We need to get together and hug each other,” Waslick said Friday. But with the developments Thursday night and Friday morning that will have to wait.
“It isn’t worth taking any risk. I’ve told my kids to stay put, stay safe,” said Waslick. “You don’t want to admit that fear is there, but being so far away that I can’t jump in and help them, you have this anxiety. It’s so raw and so fresh right now, it’s intense and scary. It know it will subside, but it’s hard.”
Waslick said when she first heard about Monday’s bombings, she wondered where her daughters were. Lauren, who lives near the Boston University campus, called in shortly to say she was at work outside the city and was OK. But, she was very frightened, her mother said, and uncertain how and when she would be able to return to her apartment.
“It was very scary,” Waslick said. “When she called me she could barely talk.”
In a phone interview Friday, Lauren said the bombings were terrifying. She knows people who were at the marathon, and spent many of the first moments after she heard about the blasts trying to find out if they were OK. In particular, she was worried about a friend who was working at the marathon.
“My first thought was to text her. It took about five minutes for her to get back to me. I couldn’t really breathe for that time,” Lauren said.
Sherri Waslick says she had trouble getting in touch with Jennifer, who lives in Medway and works in Newton, and she started to worry.
“As a parent, I kept wondering, ‘Where is she? Is she safe?’ Why isn’t she answering?’ ”
When she did finally hear from Jennifer, and found out she was safe, she also learned that her son-in-law was at the marathon, helping out at the finish line after the bombings.
Jennifer’s husband, who works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and whose name cannot be used because of his work, was at the marathon with coworkers, cheering on friends who were running.
“When the bombs went off they ran to the finish line,” Jennifer said, where they helped getting people into ambulances.
After Jennifer learned about the blasts, she says, it took at least 20 minutes to get in touch with him.
“It was excruciating. I knew he was close by, and I know him: If something’s wrong, he wouldn’t run away from it, she said. “I kept calling; his phone wouldn’t even ring — it was blank. So many thoughts ran through my mind: Is his phone blown to pieces? You just don’t know.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Jennifer says, her husband was stationed at South Street Station, a Boston train station, providing security as well as reminding the public that they were searching for photographs and videos taken at the marathon.
Change of plans
After hearing on Monday that her daughters and her son-in-law were safe, and with plans in place for Friday’s trip to see them, Waslick says, she began to relax. But then, Friday morning, she heard about the shoot-out and the Boston-area lockdown and the fear set in again.
“OK, where are the girls now?,” she wondered. “Panic sets in.”
She knew Jennifer was flying into Logan International Airport Friday morning and worried about her safety there.
When Jennifer’s plane landed early Friday morning, she said, “There was definitely a lot of heightened security at the airport. I walked by a guy who was stopped out in the middle of the floor, not at a security checkpoint, who was having his backpack searched.”
Today, she said, her husband is stationed on the ground at Logan, providing additional security.
After she landed, Jennifer was not able to pick up her car, which is parked at her work in Newton, one town over from Watertown, so borrowed her husband’s car and was able to make it safely home to Medway.
Lauren texted her mother early Friday morning to say she, too, was safe at home and planned to stay put.
Since Monday, Lauren said, she had been able to follow her usual routine — going to work and to a class she takes at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, although the mood in Boston, she added, has been somber. But, since she woke this morning to the news that the city was in lock-down, she has stayed at home, and will, she says, until she gets the all-clear.
“I’m feeling pretty safe in my apartment,” she said.
Even so, her mother says, she is anxious to see her daughters in person.
“It makes you think: If you love someone, tell them every day that you love them. I definitely did — a billion times,” said Sherri Waslick. “You can’t leave things unsaid.”